On-Screen Guns Target of A-List Petition
BREAKING: The town's big names call for new guidelines in movies and TV; Tom Cruise halts a commercial
Today, one day after a bipartisan group from the U.S. Senate reached an agreement in principal on gun safety, Hollywood is actually also doing something once considered as implausible: it’s leadership is speaking up about on-screen guns.
The Ankler can report a groundbreaking petition, led by Hollywood activists Christy Callahan, co-chair of of the Brady United Against Gun Violence organization's Regional Leadership Council, and Robert Bowers Disney, is circulating, with a first round of signatures to be revealed when the petition goes public later today.
What is unique about the call to action is that it’s not aimed at people in Washington. The “Open Letter to Our Colleagues in the Creative Community” calls for Hollywood to examine its own role in perpetuating gun violence. Among other things, the petition calls for studios to model responsible gun safety practices in their productions and to limit the use of guns in scenes involving children.
Included in the first round of signatures: Judd Apatow, Debbie Allen, Marty Bowen, R.J. Cutler, Dana Fox, Dede Gardner, Todd Garner, John Glickman, Wyck Godfrey, Grant Heslov, Jimmy Kimmel, Simon Kinberg, Damon Lindelof, Adam McKay, Hannah Minghella, Julianne Moore, Sue Naegle, Marti Noxon, Billy Ray, Shonda Rhimes, Gary Ross, Eli Roth, Mark Ruffalo, Amy Schumer, Veena Sud, Irwin Winkler and Nicole Sorkin.
It's not calling for an abolition of guns on screen but it's a definite start, and finally cracks open the door to Hollywood self-examination on the topic. For decades, whenever such tragedies as Uvalde occurred, the community pointed fingers at the N.R.A., pooh-poohing the lack of absolute proof linking violence on-screen to these events (despite the fact that numerous shooters who have committed their atrocities attested to inspiration from Hollywood films or shows).
But the dam is starting to break. While gun control remains a paramount legislative issue, many in the industry are conceding it can’t any longer just ignore the extent which Hollywood doesn't just depict gun violence, but glorifies it with all the big-budget mastery a Hollywood production can put behind that. Two weeks ago, I called on Hollywood to examine its role. This weekend, Bill Maher issued a powerful and very similar call to the community, shedding light on a common theme that plays out with mass shooters and in Hollywood movies and TV — glorified violence justified in the name of revenge:
The letter goes public today for members of the community to add their signatures. The organizers are calling for more writers, directors and producers to join the movement. They can sign the letter here or see the full and updated list here.
Here's the full text:
An Open Letter to Our Colleagues in the Creative Community
Like most of America, we are enraged by the recent mass shootings in Buffalo and Uvalde. Considering there have been over 250 other mass shootings so far this year, it’s an almost incomprehensible tragedy. Something needs to be done.
Guns are prominently featured in TV and movies in every corner of the globe, but only America has a gun violence epidemic. The responsibility lies with lax gun laws supported by those politicians more afraid of losing power than saving lives. We didn’t cause the problem, but we want to help fix it.
As America’s storytellers, our goal is primarily to entertain, but we also acknowledge that stories have the power to effect change. Cultural attitudes toward smoking, drunk driving, seatbelts and marriage equality have all evolved due in large part to movies’ and TV’s influence. It’s time to take on gun safety.
We are not asking anyone to stop showing guns on screen. We are asking writers, directors and producers to be mindful of on-screen gun violence and model gun safety best practices. Let's use our collective power for good. Whenever possible, we will:
Use our creativity to model responsible gun ownership and show consequences for reckless gun use. We will make a conscious effort to show characters locking their guns safely and making them inaccessible to children.
Have at least one conversation during pre-production regarding the way guns will be portrayed on screen and consider alternatives that could be employed without sacrificing narrative integrity.
Limit scenes including children and guns, bearing in mind that guns are now the leading cause of death for children and adolescents.
We are under no illusions that these actions are a substitute for common sense gun legislation. Furthermore, this list does not incorporate every nuance of guns on screen. However, these are small things that we can do as a community to try and end this national nightmare. If you are a writer, director or producer, join us by signing here.
TOM CRUISE: NOT ON MY WATCH
Many A-listers are known for their exacting demands when it comes to studios marketing their movies. But Tom Cruise took it to a whole new level. In the run-up to the release of Tom Gun: Maverick, Cruise used his clout to get a $1 million commercial for watchmaker IWC, a luxury brand featured in the film, killed. The spot starred F1 driver Lewis Hamilton and Top Gun co-star Glen Powell and